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The surgery to remove a kidney is called a nephrectomy. There are two types of nephrectomy; laparoscopic nephrectomy and open nephrectomy.

Laparoscopic nephrectomy

This surgery involves three or four small incisions in the abdomen. Through these incisions, surgeons insert special instruments to detach the kidney, as well as a tiny camera to show the surgery on a video screen. The kidney is removed through a small incision below the navel. Usually the left kidney is taken because it is often easier to remove than the right. The surgery usually takes three to four hours. It is done under general anesthetic so the patient is asleep during the surgery.  The hospital stay is two to four days and recovery is four to six weeks.

Open nephrectomy

This surgery involves an incision about 10 inches on the side of the abdomen, along the bottom of the lower rib. The surgery takes two to four hours. The hospital stay is three to five days and recovery is six to eight weeks.

All of our donor nephrectomy surgeons at The Ottawa Hospital are trained to do Laparoscopic nephrectomy. There is a chance they might need to do an open nephrectomy in certain circumstances.